Namibia boasts dramatic landscapes combined with unique sand dunes, abundant wildlife and a rich cultural heritage. Namibia is a varied African destination that will speak to the imagination of even the most intrepid traveller. It can be daunting driving in a foreign country, especially if they drive on the opposite side or the road or car from what you are used to or if it is your first time visiting the area and you are not sure what to expect. A self-drive holiday will give you the freedom and flexibility to see explore and see Namibia’s hidden gems at your own pace.
From Namibia’s coastal areas to safari destinations to towns of all sizes (and even ghost towns), a self-drive adventure in this beautiful country is an experience not too be missed! We have put together a short guide of tips & tricks and things to consider if you are looking to book or have booked a self-drive holiday in Namibia:
– Choice of car hire: In Namibia you will drive on the left-hand side of the road. Although a 4×4 vehicle would be an ideal option as they allow universal access it is not essential to have a 4×4 as most of Namibia and the tourist sites can be reached by a regular car. Ensure you have off-road tires on your 4×4 rental vehicle before leaving the rental car facility, if this is the option you choose. Ensure you have at least one spare tire and that you know how to change the tire no matter what car you are hiring. Also be sure to mention to your rental car company if you are planning on driving to a boarding country or outside of Namibia. If you are going on a camping self-drive holiday be sure to rent a fully equipped vehicle.
– Gravel roads: You need to be comfortable with the prospect of driving on gravel roads if you opt for a self-drive option in Namibia. Most of the main roads tarred and the tarred roads are normally in good condition. Some roads are gravel roads, which can vary from gravel to sand, be sure to slow down when approaching these types of roads. The off road conditions tend to range from deep sand to rocky roads. It is a good idea to drive with your headlights on even during daytime hours, this will make you more visible especially if there is a change in weather conditions.
– Keep an eye out for animals: Namibia is full of animals, even in the most unusual places! Keep an eye out when driving at all times and don’t exceed the speed limits. There is road side signage to indicate when to be most cautious for animal sightings while driving.
– Carry water: Due to the hot desert temperatures it is essential to carry plenty of water with you at all times.
– Petrol stations: It is a good idea to mark and take note of where there will be petrol stations along your route, often in remote areas there can be a fair distance between towns so it would be a good idea to check your petrol and/or car tire pressure etc. each time you pass a petrol station.
– Avoid driving at night: People and animals walk on the roads or shoulder of the roads after dark and as a lot of the roads do not have fluorescent markings or cats-eyes it can be tricky to see the road at night!
– GPS or road map: A good GPS is essential, it is also advisable to carry a road map which you have studied the routes you will be taking and where you can make markings of important information such as petrol stations. Also plan your trip and route before you leave your accommodation and it is a good idea to let your accommodation know your itinerary and when to expect you especially if you are travelling in more remote areas.
– An early start: If you are going for a long drive, getting an early start at sunrise before it gets too hot might make for a better road trip for the day. Leaving early will also allow you extra time to reach your destination before nightfall.
– Driving during the rainy season: The rainy season is from November to March. It’s important to note when driving during the rainy seasons flooding will occur making it difficult to drive off road due to the mud. It would be better to use tarred routes during this time.
These are just some of the tips and tricks to take into account when you book a self-drive holiday. It is advisable to do research about the areas you will be visiting to and gauge what activities you would like to do once in Namibia, which road types you will be using and to prepare yourself for your trip ahead. If you would like any additional information on self-drive trips in Southern Africa or the exciting self-drive trips we have on offer please contact us for more information.